Once again, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is in another leadership crisis, presenting the first test to President Bola Tinubu on how he will manage the party.
Reports have emerged that President Tinubu has penned down his loyal ally, former Governor Umar Ganduje as his preferred candidate for the chairmanship of the party.
However, the path may not be a smooth one for Ganduje because of the division within the National Working Committee of the party and zoning arrangement, Latestnewsgig learnt.
Division in APC
The crisis within the party has been brewing for months, and the climax was the sudden departure of the National Chairman, Abdulahi Adamu and the National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore on Monday.
But the departure of the two has not healed the crisis in the party because the NWC is divided along those in the camp of Adamu and Abubakar Kyari, who is the Acting National Chairman of the party.
Since the departure of Adamu, those loyal to him have either joined Kyari’s camp or kept quiet to avoid being sidelined within the party.
One of the NWC members from South-east, who spoke with DAILY POST, faulted the emergence of Kyari as “Acting Chairman”.
“Kyari is from the same state as Vice President Kashim Shettima (Borno)— having someone in the North-central would be the ideal situation,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
However, section 14.2 of the APC constitution backs the decision of Kyari to take the position with the exit of Adamu.
“The Deputy Chairman (North and South)….Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his Zone,” section 14.2 reads.
President Tinubu faced accusations of sidelining the North-central during the composition of the leadership of the National Assembly by giving the North-west Speaker and Deputy Senate President. But some supporters justified the arrangement considering that the North-central had the National Chairman. The President subsequently added the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
With the exit of Adamu, many believe that the president will look to the North-central for replacement. The Northcentral has Sen Sani Musa, Tanko Almakura and Simon Lalong as possible candidates from the region, however, it appears the president wants an ally he can trust.
The outspoken Vice Chairman of North-west, Salihu Lukman, already opposed the proposed appointment of Ganduje as the Chairman of the party on the argument of zoning.
In a statement on Friday, Lukman said such an appointment will be insensitive to the people of the North-central.
“Already, part of the speculation emerging from the Governor’s bloc is that Ganduje is being considered to succeed Senator Abdullahi Adamu. If this is true, it only suggests insensitivity and taking members of the party for granted. This is without prejudice to the person of Ganduje.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Senate President coming from North-West and North-Central shut out of consideration.To propose that the party’s National Chairman moves to North-West from North-Central will be unjust and almost political suicide,” he said.
The president may have to be concerned about the capacity of Lukman to fight the leadership of the party.
He was at the forefront of a movement that ousted the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
Equally, he was relentless in his criticism of Adamu and Omisore, and many within the party credited him with the removal of the duo. If Ganduje takes over the leadership of the party, he may have to inherit a hostile and divided NWC.
President’s prerogative to pick National Chairman
Over the years, the ruling party has embraced the practice of the President picking the National Chairmen of the party. Former President Muhammadu Buhari adopted Adams Oshiomhole as a consensus candidate, picked Buni as Caretaker Chairman and also adopted Adamu as a consensus candidate.
Tinubu appears not to be departing from that tradition of picking the Chairman of the party, and strong indications have emerged that he will pick Ganduje.
It appears the tradition of having a former Governor as National Chairman of the party will continue, and President Tinubu sees the North-west as a vital region for his re-election.